Friday, November 28, 2008

World AIDS Day is December 1st

World AIDS Day is this Monday, December 1, 2008. For the last twenty years, people have been marking this important day with memorial services, rallies and community gatherings. Today, there are 40 million people living with HIV around the world. In support of these individuals and the families of those we have lost, please join me in wearing a red ribbon - the international symbol of hope and commitment to stopping the spread of HIV - this Monday.

This is more than an international tradition. It is an opportunity to mark our commitment to stopping the spread of AIDS worldwide.


In honor of World AIDS Day and its 20th Anniversary, the City of Miami would like to invite the community to a candlelight memorial and tree lighting ceremony.
Please join me, the City of Miami Commission, the Miami-Dade County Health Department and Walgreens, Co. in commemorating World AIDS Day on Monday at 5:00pm at the Miami Riverside Center on 444 SW 2nd Avenue.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Thanksgiving Message




Today we celebrate Thanksgiving, an opportunity to spend time with our families and reflect on the many blessings in our lives. This is also a time to think about those less fortunate than ourselves. The City of Miami, with the help of community and corporate partners, has provided over a thousand Thanksgiving meals for Miami families this week.
This is the time to consider offering our time to volunteer in our community or making a donation to our favorite charity. There are many volunteering opportunities right here in our city. The Miami Rescue Mission and Camillus House are just two of the organizations in Miami that will be holding Thanksgiving Day events for the homeless and those less fortunate. I will be participating in these efforts this Thanksgiving Day.
I encourage you to also think about our community's needs and find the time, or the money, to give back.
I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, and wish you and your families all the best during this holiday season.







- Manny

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thoughts on Leadership

I was honored to participate in a panel discussion about leadership with some of the country’s best leaders during a reception hosted by U.S. News & World Report at The National Press Club in Washington, DC. Those of us who participated in the panel yesterday were named one of America’s Top Leaders in 2008 by U.S. News and the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
During the lively discussion, led by David Gergen, editor-at-Large of U.S. News and director of the CPL, I was pleased to see that leadership is alive and well in our country.
Participating in the discussion were 14 of the 24 honorees chosen by the center, including myself. The other 13 participants were Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., founder and CEO of the Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic; Benjamin Carson, M.D., director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital; Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund; Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, co-founders of the KIPP Foundation; Fiona Anne Harrison, Ph.D., professor of Physics and Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology; David Baltimore, Ph.D., R. A. Millikan Professor of Biology, California Institute of Technology; Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Amory B. Lovins, co-founder, chairman and chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute; Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and CEO of Endeavor; Jeffrey Sachs, director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University; and Maria T. Zuber, Ph.D., E. A. Griswold professor of Geophysics at MA Institute of Technology.
One theme that continued to come up in the discussion is the need to invest in our future and in our children. A large part of the discussion centered on educating our children and giving them the tools they need to succeed. Many of the panelists were involved in education and the sciences, and they shared inspiring stories of times when they have seen children become inspired to do great things, as well as heart-breaking stories of children who cannot succeed because they are born in the wrong place or in the wrong economic class.
There was consensus among us: our country cannot afford to lose so many of our children to crime, poverty and lack of education. We must invest in our children now if we are to become the great nation that we deserve to be.
To read the U.S. News 2008 edition of America’s Best Leaders, please visit www.usnews.com/leaders.
- Manny

Friday, November 21, 2008

Miami's Condo Market Still Strong

Miami’s real estate market continues to thrive in spite of the difficult economic conditions being experienced all around the nation. As reported in The Miami Herald, the closings at downtown Miami condos have continued despite the slow-down in the economy.
The article reads:
“Since 2003, 17,299 condos have been finished and 12,169 have closed at an average price of $405,966 per unit, adding up to total sales of nearly $5 billion in the greater downtown Miami area, which includes the Brickell, central business district and Midtown neighborhoods.”
More than 12,000 units have closed in downtonwn, a large number of units for any local economy to absorb, even in robust economic times. The fact that all of these units have closed despite the current economic climate speaks volumes about the city’s stability and ability to attract buyers. This is a testament that Miami continues to grow and prosper, and will continue to be a source of prosperity for its residents.
It is also a testament to how far the city has come in creating an urban core to live, work and play in. Not too long ago, Miami had no urban core to speak of. Now, downtown has been completely transformed. The residents who will live in these 12,000 that have closed will help create a new urban environment and a brand new sustainable city. These closings also create an opportunity for renters to live in the urban core, renters who are likely to become buyers once the lending market improves.
This is why the City of Miami will continue to invest in projects such as the Miami World Center, and continue to work towards implementing the new zoning code, Miami 21. These investments are necessary to build the city we all want to live in, and create a sustainable home for our children.
- Manny

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Elevate Miami Kicks Off with Goals for Second Class


Elevate Miami is one of the programs that I am most proud of in the City. A result of the City's partnership with the Miami-Dade Public School System (the Education Compact), Elevate Miami is a comprehensive “Digital Inclusion” program to break the downward spiral of economic adversity and educational inequity and give our youngest residents every opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams.

This week, I was joined by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, two Elevate Miami alumni and 200 sixth graders at a rally at Jose De Diego Middle School to celebrate our goal to double the number of families to receive free computers and internet access this year to 1200 families.

Elevate Miami gives our students the ability to develop the skills necessary to compete globally. We need to ensure that we continue investing in our children and that we provide them with all of the tools they need to succeed. It is a life skills course that is being taught to sixth grade students that attend schools within the city. Students who complete the required coursework and also meet important academic and behavioral benchmarks during the school year earn a free computer and internet access for their homes.

In 2007, 600 sixth grade students successfully completed the very first ELEVATE MIAMI curriculum and took home a free computer. This year’s goal will be to double the amount of students to 1200.

Students participating in the Elevate Miami – Rites of Passage Initiative will need to meet certain criteria to earn a computer. Among the requirements students need to meet are: attending a Title I school or attend a City of Miami magnet school with a Title I City of Miami home school; complete the Rites of Passage Curriculum including the submission of a Rites of Passage Portfolio; attend school consistently; maintain academic grades of C or above in all academic subject areas on the second quarter report card. Additionally, parents/guardians will have to complete four (4) Parent Academy Rites of Passage Workshops.

I want to wish good luck to all of the students participating in Elevate Miami.

To learn more about this program http://www.elevatemiami.com/.





- Manny



Tuesday, November 18, 2008

National League of Cities Meeting


This past Friday I was named 2008 Municipal Leader of the Year by the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO), the organization with the largest group of locally elected Latino leaders in the United States, at the National League of Cities (NLC) meeting in Orlando.
I received the award for my work to strengthen the quality of life and economic vitality of our nation's cities and towns. I would like to thank the National League of Cities and HELO for this profound honor.
While in Orlando, I also urged NLC members to support The US Conference of Mayors MainStreet Jobs and Infrastructure Stimulus Plan totaling $89.8 billion that includes funding in the sectors of transit and roads, green jobs, school modernization, and community development. The US Conference of Mayors presented this plan in testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in October.
I will post more information about this plan soon.
Posted below are my remarks, made during the NLC meeting.


- Manny


Remarks made on Friday, November 14, at the National League of Cities (NLC) meeting in Orlando:

"GOOD AFTERNOON, IT’S ALWAYS GREAT TO BE IN A ROOM SURROUNDED BY MY COLLEAGUES AND OTHER LOCAL OFFICIALS........ALL OF US WHO WORK ON THE FRONT LINE OF GOVERNMENT.....WE GET IT.
I WANT TO THANK PRESIDENT KATHLEEN NOVAK AND VICE PRESIDENT MAYOR RON LOVERIDGE FOR INVITING ME HERE TODAY.
LET ME ALSO RECOGNIZE YOUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DON BORUT, WHO WORKS VERY CLOSELY WITH OUR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TOM COCHRAN.
AND LET ME CONGRATULATE MY FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR TO THE NORTH, MAYOR BUDDY DYER AND THE ENTIRE ORLANDO HOST COMMITTEE ON SUCH A FANTASTIC MEETING –
YOU DO ALMOST AS GREAT A JOB HOSTING THESE EVENTS AS WE DO IN MIAMI…
AS THE GOVERNMENT CLOSEST TO THE PEOPLE, WE ARE CONFRONTED DAILY BY WORRIED AND ANXIOUS RESIDENTS ASKING ...........
WHAT WILL THIS ECONOMY DO TO THEIR JOBS, THEIR LONG-TERM SAVINGS, THEIR HOMES, AND THEIR PENSION FUNDS.
PARENTS ARE GETTING LAID OFF, FAMILIES ARE STRUGGLING TO PAY BILLS.
GRANDPARENTS ARE STRUGGLING WITH RETIREMENT, AND YOUNG PEOPLE UNABLE TO SECURE FINANCIAL AID...... ARE BEING FORCED TO FORGO COLLEGE.
SEVERE FEDERAL AND STATE CUTS TO EDUCATION, HOUSING, HEALTH, PUBLIC SAFETY, YOUTH PROGRAMS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, JOB TRAINING, ARTS, AND INFRASTRUCTURE ARE RESULTING IN A LOSS OF NEEDED SERVICES ON MAIN STREET.
TODAY WE GO FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS – WE ARE ENGAGED IN A WAR WITH NO CLEAR END, A HOUSING AND A FORECLOSURE CRISIS AND A MELT DOWN ON WALL STREET.
CONGRESS BAILS OUT INDUSTRIES THAT SHOULD KNOW BETTER, AND THEN THEY SIMPLY MOVE ON TO THE NEXT DEBATE – ALL WITHOUT ADDRESSING THE UNDERLYING CONDITIONS THAT GOT US HERE, AND KEEP GETTING US HERE.


WHY ARE MARKETS FAILING? WHY ARE THE FUNDAMENTALS OF OUR ECONOMY NOT SOUND? WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL WORSE TODAY, AND ARE MORE PESSIMISTIC ABOUT THEIR FUTURE THAN AT ANY OTHER TIME IN OUR HISTORY?
THIS IS WHERE OUR ROLE AS LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS IS MORE IMPORTANT TODAY THAN PERHAPS AT ANY TIME IN AMERICAN HISTORY.
FOR IT IS HERE THAT THE REAL CRISIS IN AMERICA EXISTS.
MOST OF US BELIEVE THAT WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS CURRENT CRISIS, WHETHER IN 1, 2, OR 5 YEARS.
BUT, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
THE REAL CRISIS IN AMERICA TODAY
THE CHALLENGE THAT I AM CONFIDENT OUR PRESIDENT-ELECT WILL TACKLE HEAD-ON
IS HOW DO WE ASSURE THAT AMERICA WILL REMAIN COMPETITIVE IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY?
HOW DO WE ASSURE THAT THE NEXT GENERATION OF AMERICANS WILL STILL HAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM AVAILABLE TO THEM WHEN THEY ARE READY TO WORK AND FIGHT FOR IT?
CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
WE HAVE A TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT –
OUR BIRTH RATE IS TOO LOW TO SUSTAIN SOCIAL SECURITY-
25% OF GNP GOES TO HEALTH CARE –
OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION SYSTEM IS NOT PRODUCING GRADUATES THAT CAN COMPETE ON A GLOBAL LEVEL –
AND SPEAKING OF GLOBAL, THE LACK OF AN ENERGY POLICY HAS US IN WHAT IS BEING CALLED THE GREATEST TRANSFER OF WEALTH IN HISTORY...... WHERE WE CONTINUE TO SEND OUR MONEY TO UNFRIENDLY GOVERNMENTS.
MONEY THAT WE THEN BORROW FROM CHINA, RUSSIA, INDIA AND YES EVEN IRAQ AND IRAN.
1 IN EVERY 6 CHILDREN LIVES IN POVERTY, WITH NEARLY HALF LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY.
TODAY, THERE ARE MORE GANG MEMBERS IN AMERICA THAN POLICE OFFICERS. IN THE STREETS OF MIAMI, ASSAULT WEAPONS ARE CHEAPER TO BUY THAN A PLAY STATION.
OVER 60% OF AMERICA’S CHILDREN DO NOT READ OR PERFORM MATH AT GRADE LEVEL AND IN OUR LARGEST CITIES, OVER 50% OF CHILDREN DO NOT MAKE IT PAST HIGH SCHOOL.
OUR INFRASTRUCTURE REQUIRES TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS JUST TO FIX IT.
MOTHERS AND FATHERS SPEND 4 BILLION HOURS A YEAR STUCK IN TRAFFIC, TIME THEY DON’T SPEND WITH THEIR CHILDREN--
OVER A THIRD OF OUR CITIES DO NOT KNOW WHERE THEY WILL GET THEIR WATER FROM IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS.
AND THIS IS WHERE WE COME IN.
ALL OF US IN THIS ROOM, OUR CITIES, DRIVE THE NATIONAL ECONOMY.
85% OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE LIVE IN METRO AREAS.
WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALMOST 90% OF ALL JOBS, INCOME AND OUR GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
CITIES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, CITIES ARE THE SOLUTION.
WE KNOW HOW TO GENERATE WEALTH, PROSPERITY, OPPORTUNITY.
WE KNOW HOW TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES.
WE ARE THE ANSWER TO OUR LONG TERM FINANCIAL CRISIS.
WE DO IT EVERY DAY BY INVESTING IN ASSETS, OUR PEOPLE, OUR BUSINESSES, OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, OUR MARKET PLACES.
CONGRESS WILLINGLY SENT $700 BILLION TO BAIL OUT WALL STREET.
CAN ANY OF YOU IMAGINE WHAT WE COULD DO WITH $700 BILLION DOLLARS IN OUR CITIES?
THE CONFERENCE OF MAYORS AND NATIONAL LEAGUE OF CITIES GET IT.
.
EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US - WE ARE THE GOVERNMENTS OF FIRST RESORT - BUT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO BE THE GOVERNMENTS OF LAST RESORT.
IT IS TIME FOR WASHINGTON TO END ITS PARTISAN GRIDLOCK, END THE POINTLESS DEBATES, AND ENGAGE IN SOME SERIOUS PLANNING AND LEADERSHIP TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES WE ALL FACE.
IT IS TIME FOR ALL OF US TO HAVE A PARTNER IN WASHINGTON - ONE THAT SUPPORTS US, ONE THAT SUPPORTS A "MAIN STREET STIMULUS."
THE ONLY WAY TO REVERSE THIS SYSTEMIC, LONG-TERM ECONOMIC CRISIS IS TO INVEST IN OUR CITIES.
THE CONFERENCE OF MAYORS HAS DEVELOPED A 90 BILLION DOLLAR "MAIN STREET STIMULUS" THAT WILL CREATE JOBS NOW BY INVESTING IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, CREATING A GREEN ECONOMY, HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES, AND HAVE LASTING ECONOMIC, EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE BENEFITS.
BUT FOR THIS TO WORK, WE MUST MAKE SURE THAT THIS FUNDING DOES NOT GET STUCK IN THE STATES, BUT THAT IT GOES DIRECTLY TO CITIES AND METRO AREAS.
PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA AND VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN HAVE MET WITH US, AND HAVE COMMITTED TO MOVE FORWARD ON OUR SHARED PRIORITIES.
AND WE HAVE MANY FRIENDS IN CONGRESS LIKE HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID. MY TWO SENATORS, NELSON AND MARTINEZ, ARE WORKING TOGETHER FOR US IN A BIPARTISAN WAY.
BUT THESE LEADERS NEED TO HEAR FROM EACH ONE OF US. WE MUST EACH WORK WITH CONGRESS TO ENSURE THAT MAIN STREET IS NOT FORGOTTEN, BETTER YET THAT IT IS UNDERSTOOD.
TO ENSURE THAT THEY ALL KNOW THAT AN INVESTMENT IN AMERICA’S CITIES, AN INVESTMENT IN AMERICA’S PEOPLE IS AN INVESTMENT IN AMERICA’S FUTURE.
OUR HISTORY SHOWS THAT WHEN WE WORK TOGETHER, WE CAN ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS. THIS IS A DEFINING MOMENT FOR ALL OF US.
LET US STAND TOGETHER, UNITED, FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WE ALL SERVE. THERE IS TOO MUCH AT STAKE.
THANK YOU, AND GOD BLESS."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Letter from a Constituent on Bike Miami

Thank you to everyone who has shared with me your appreciation and ideas for Bike Miami. Many of you have commented about the coverage it received by our local media. Here is just one unpublished letter from a Downtown resident, addressed to the Editor of the Miami Herald:
"Bike Miami, held on Sunday, November 9 in downtown Miami was a huge step in the right direction to making Miami a place where people can work, live, and play. As a concerned citizen of our local environment and Brickell resident with a new baby, I appreciate Mayor Manny Diaz's effort to make our city greener and more accessible to families. We need more events like this, and I hope to see Bike Miami become a regular event. They will only improve each time. Way to go Miami!"
-Rebecca Carter
Founder & Editor, greenerMIAMI.com

See you on Sunday, December 14th!
-Manny

Save the Date! Bike Miami: Sunday, Dec.14th

I continue to be impressed by the positive feedback I have received from Bike Miami. Thank you to everyone who has contacted my office, written emails and contacted me through Facebook. It was an inspiring day and, as I wrote earlier this week, I am dedicated to make Bike Miami a monthly event.
Please join me for the next Bike Miami: Sunday, December 14th!
My office is working hard to ensure that this Bike Miami is as fun and successful as the inaugural event. If you would like to volunteer, or if your business would like to participate in some way, please contact my office by email or phone at 305.250.5300.
Together, we are making Miami a world-class, bicycle-friendly city.
-Manny

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring Our Veterans


Today we celebrate Veteran’s Day, a day to honor the men and women who fight for our country and so that we may live in freedom. Some of these men and women never come home, making the ultimate sacrifice. They, and their families, deserve our respect and to be honored. As our country continues to be at war, and thousands of brave men and women risk their lives every day, we must thank them for their service and pray for their safe return home.
The City of Miami has been honored to host The Moving Wall, the half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country for more than twenty years. The Wall is a project by a group of veterans who have made it possible for thousands of people who cannot travel to our nation’s capital to be able to experience this solemn memorial to our fallen warriors. The Wall will close today at 5:30 pm.
To learn more about The Moving Wall, please visit their WEBSITE.



-Manny

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank You for Making Bike Miami a Success!

Thank you to everyone who came out and made the first ever Bike Miami such a success!
Thousands of you explored the streets of Downtown Miami by bike, on foot, on rollerblades, by pedicab... I want to thank you for your emails and letters of support of Bike Miami. If you have not done so already, please tell us about your experience at this historic community event.
I would also like to thank all of you who have shared with me your photos, videos, blogs and thoughts on Bike Miami. Many of them are on facebook. Some of them are included below. Please keep them coming!
I am looking forward to the next Bike Miami and want you all to know that I plan to make this a monthly event.
Green Mobility Network Director, Organizer of the free Bike Valets at Bayfront Park and Mary Brickell Village and Bicycle Action Committee Member, John Hopkins, posted a video from the rally on his blog, SpokesnFolks.
TransitMiami.com, hosts of the very successful Bike Miami AfterParty posted some great photos this morning.
MiamiBikeScene posted a great video covering most of the streets closed for Bike Miami.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

City of Miami Police and Communications Departments YouTube for Bike Miami!

I would like to thank Chief of Police John Timoney and Major Gomez for their YouTube video for Bike Miami. You can view the video below (in English and Spanish), as well as a special Public Service Announcement about the event created by the City of Miami Communications Department to be shown this week on local channel 77.

video video

Please join us this Sunday in Downtown Miami.

For a full list of free events taking place during Bike Miami, please visit the Bike Miami 2008 blog.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Only 5 Days Left Until Bike Miami!


Please join me this Sunday for Bike Miami, a free and family-friendly opportunity to explore the city in a new way.

East Flagler Street and portions of SE 1st Avenue and South Miami Avenue will be closed to cars so that you can visit the local parks, shops, cafes and restaurants by bicycle, by foot, by rollerskates or any other non-motorized transport.

Help us spread the news about Bike Miami.

You can download flyers directly from here, in English & Spanish.


What to do at Bike Miami

Make plans with your family and friends to enjoy this Sunday at Bike Miami.

It's free - there is no registration or starting point. It's easy to get to and practically free to park! Local businesses are open and offering special discounts and family-friendly activities all day, from dance and yoga classes, to face painting and live entertainment.

This is the first-time the City of Miami has hosted something like this. Bike Miami is all about our Miami community - please show your support by coming out for the 11am rally & enjoying a beautiful day in Downtown Miami.


Come early and stay all day! I will be sending an email with a final list of all participating businesses & special events this Thursday. If you would like to join my email list, please sign up on my website.

- Manny